Whether to allow a Vodafone/H3G merger is essentially a trade-off between range of consumer choice and costs of network duplication. With the need for the former diminishing and the latter increasing, the case for approval is strengthened.
H3G is in a negative spiral of small scale, low investment, and low returns. A merger would allow it to form part of a more credible competitor with a transformed returns profile—without rising prices or reduced industry investment levels.
The CMA’s aversion to mergers has been very stringent of late—an approach that risks deterring investment and compromising competitiveness. Consolidation in UK mobile is unlikely to happen without a change of mindset.
For the media and entertainment industry the dawn of the metaverse, and the word soup of acronyms that accompanies it, is the latest high-profile technology wave that threatens to simultaneously upend established distribution models and reinvent both the experience and relationship with the audience.
Many companies will feel they have been here before. The last 25 years have seen technologies move from linear to on-demand and physical to digital; and devices from fixed, heavy boxes, to always connected and mobile-first. Some companies never recovered from these changes.
The next 24 months is a particularly useful window to invest at small scale and with limited downside risk. With audiences small but influential, there is opportunity to start early, develop robust test cases and establish new community-building and storytelling formats.
For the media and entertainment industry the dawn of the metaverse, and the word soup of acronyms that accompanies it, is the latest high-profile technology wave that threatens to simultaneously upend established distribution models and reinvent both the experience and the relationship with the audience.
Music is the media sector (outside gaming) that has moved fastest to experiment with metaverse applications, so far mainly on gaming platforms like Fortnite and Roblox, which provide a ready game-centric audience but offer little lasting innovation.
Music's metaverse potential beyond gaming is huge, led by artists who want a more dynamic online presence, though we anticipate a long trajectory towards mainstream applications as questions remain around formats, design, platforms, and monetisation.